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Earth's Call
Thu, 8th May 2014

EARTH'S CALL
Songs for Soprano & Piano by
JOHN IRELAND

April Fredrick, soprano Mark Bebbington, piano

The Songs of John Ireland form an important part of his output and are highly regarded by professional singers who appreciate the lyrical contours of his melodies, the sensitivity of his word settings and the wide variety of moods they encompass.

Ireland was born into a literary household and throughout his life a deep love of poetry played an important part in his artistic development. His word settings include the poems of a variety of major poets (Christina Rossetti, Aldous Huxley, Mary Coleridge, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Emily Brontë et al). Earth's Call, which provides this disc with its title, is one of Ireland's most striking songs and an evocative setting of a sonnet by Harold Monro, the proprietor of the Poetry Bookshop in London.

As a first-rate pianist himself and the composer of a large body of strikingly individual works for piano solo, (SOMM has recorded the Complete Piano Music in 3 Volumes with Mark Bebbington) including a popular concerto for the instrument, Ireland's accompaniments to his songs provide highly effective counterparts to the vocal lines as well as having a distinctive character of their own.

Most previous recordings of Ireland's songs have featured male voices -- tenor and baritone -- but this new collection contains several first recordings by a soprano. It also features a world première recording: Variations sur 'Cadet Rousselle' (sung in French), which Ireland wrote in 1918 in collaboration with three composer friends -- Arnold Bax, Frank Bridge and Eugene Goossens -- as a tribute to the music critic Edwin Evans, a staunch champion of both French and British music.

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